Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Colloquium

April 26, 2017
April 26, 2017
Speaker: Patrick V. Hull, Ph.D.
Title: Structural Design Methods for Launch Vehicles Using Evolutionary Optimization Practices
Location: Fiber Optics Building, Easton Hub Auditorium
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Abstract: Design and manufacturing of space flight vehicle structures is a skill set that has grown considerably at NASA during the last several years. Beginning with the Ares program and followed by the Space Launch System (SLS), in-house designs were produced for both the upper stage and the SLS Multipurpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) Spacecraft Adapter (MSA). Specifically, critical design review-level analyses and flight production drawings were produced for the aforementioned hardware. In particular, the experience of this in-house design work led to improved skill sets in both analysis and design, and provided hands-on experience in building and testing full-scale hardware. The hardware design and development processes from initiation to critical design review, and finally to flight, resulted in many challenges and experiences that produced valuable lessons. This presentation demonstrates an aspect of these experiences at NASA in recent years, with regards to designing and fabricating flight hardware, and examines the design/development processes used, as well as the challenges and lessons learned, i.e., from the initial design, loads estimation, mass constraints, to structural optimization/affordability, and to the release of production drawing to hardware manufacturing.
Bio: Dr. Hull serves as a technical assistant for the Structural and Mechanical Design Branch in the Space Systems Department of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. He has developed knowledge and expertise in design and optimization, including the use of genetic algorithms for design of launch vehicle structures. For the Ares I rocket, he performed structural optimization and analysis for the liquid hydrogen tank, liquid oxygen tank, and common bulkhead. For the Space Launch System, he served as the Technical Design lead for two structures, the MPCV Spacecraft Adapter and Launch Vehicle Stage Adapter. He has developed a structural optimization design tool using geometric subdivision, Finite Element Analysis  and genetic algorithms, and developed a lunar lander multidisciplinary optimization method.  Dr. Hull holds several patents and has received numerous awards including a NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, and an Orion Program Managers Accommodation.
For additional information, please contact Professor Howon Lee at 848-445-2213 or at